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The History

The roots of the great game of lacrosse

Lacrosse is the oldest sport from North America and is the cultural sport for Native American communities across the continent. Dating as far back as 1100 AD, the game was eventually adopted in Canada in the early 19th century.

The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) believe lacrosse (Dechongiwiis) was bestowed upon them by The Creator for humans to enjoy. Dechongiwiis is meant to give thanks and praises to the gods, serve as a medicine game for tribes, and help settle tribal disputes.

Dechongiwiis events could last for days with up to 1,000 participants, and the area of play could range from a few hundred yards to miles apart. The games were physical affairs with rules of the contest decided upon the day before a game.

The name “lacrosse” comes from French Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf during the early 17th century, and he called it la crosse, French for “the stick.” Williams George Beers, a Canadian dentist in the mid-19th century, modernized the sport and wrote down rules for lacrosse, and as such is credited as the “Father of Modern Lacrosse.”

The Swarm host Native Heritage Night every season, celebrating the roots of the great sport and educating fans all night long about its history. Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians travel down each season to demonstrate their crafts and educate the Swarm fanbase about their cultural sport.

Native Dancers
Georgia Swarm Pro Lacrosse Team